Assembly of New Brunswick
of the Legislative Assembly is for information purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.)
8.30 o'clock a.m.
Wednesday, February 26, 1997.
Select Committee on Demographics
Mrs. Kingston, from the Select Committee on Demographics, presented the Final Report of the Select Committee on Demographics for the session which was read and is as follows:
February 26, 1997.
To the Honourable
The Legislative Assembly of
The Province of New Brunswick
I have the pleasure to present herewith the Final Report of the Select Committee on Demographics.
Your Select Committee on Demographics was appointed by a Resolution of the House adopted February 7, 1996, to examine, inquire into, and make recommendations to the House with respect to the social, economic and financial implications of demographic changes and emerging trends on the policies and strategic priorities of the Province. The document entitled New Brunswick at the Dawn of a New Century - A Discussion Paper on Demographic Issues Affecting New Brunswick was subsequently referred to the Committee for examination and review. The Discussion Paper examines and evaluates the public policy implications of demographic changes on New Brunswick as it enters the twenty-first century.
A Call for Briefs was issued in June 1996, inviting the public to submit their views on the public policy implications of demographic issues affecting the province. Over sixty-five written briefs were received. In addition, the Committee heard from various government representatives and experts in the field of demography. This Report and the recommendations contained herein effectively concludes the Committee's examination of the aforementioned Discussion Paper and its review of the input received.
Your Committee expresses appreciation for the assistance provided by officials in the various departments of government and by the staff of the Legislative Assembly. Your Committee appreciates as well the assistance provided by Dr. David Foot of the University of Toronto, and Ann Milan of the University of New Brunswick, Saint John. Finally, your Committee expresses appreciation to the many individuals, groups and associations who submitted written briefs.
I would also like to thank the members of the Select Committee on Demographics for their valuable contribution in carrying out the Committee's mandate.
(Sgd.) Joan Kingston, M.L.A.
The full report of the Committee as presented follows:
[Editor's note: See original Report for Charts]
The February 7, 1995 Speech from the Throne stated "For decades, progressive change to meet anticipated challenges has been a hallmark of public policy in New Brunswick. Dramatic demographic changes are ahead, creating risks for the unprepared and opportunity for the far-sighted. My government will establish a committee of the Legislature to examine the public policy implications of these changes. New Brunswick will be ready for the twenty-first century."
As a result of this commitment, on April 13, 1995, during the Fourth Session of the Fifty-second Legislative Assembly, a Select Committee on Demographics was appointed to examine the effects of demographic trends on public policy. With dissolution of the Fifty-second Legislative Assembly on August 12, 1995, the Committee did not complete its mandate.
During the First Session of the Fifty-third Legislative Assembly, the Select Committee on Demographics was reappointed to examine, inquire into and make recommendations with respect to the social, economic and financial implications of demographic changes and emerging trends on the policies and priorities of the Province, and in particular, to collect, review and consider data, hold such public hearings as it may deem necessary to obtain public input, and make recommendations with respect to the policy implications of demographic changes in the Province of New Brunswick.
On April 24, 1996, a document entitled New Brunswick at the Dawn of a New Century - A Discussion Paper on Demographic Issues Affecting New Brunswick, was tabled in the House and referred to the Committee. The Discussion Paper examines and evaluates the public policy implications of demographic changes on New Brunswick as it enters the twenty-first century. The Discussion Paper provides a solid demographic foundation and identifies future demographic changes and their potential policy implications for the province.
B. Public Consultation
A call for public briefs was issued in June 1996, requesting the input of individuals and groups on the public policy implications of demographic issues affecting New Brunswick. Advertisements were placed in provincial newspapers giving notice of the call for briefs and inviting interested individuals and organizations to comment on the social, economic and financial implications of demographic changes and emerging trends on the policies and strategic priorities of the Province. The Discussion Paper was also made available on the World Wide Web and the public was invited to submit their comments through electronic mail. Submissions were accepted between June and September, 1996. The Committee received over sixty written briefs, a list of which is attached hereto as Appendix "A." The Committee, in cooperation with the New Brunswick Statistics Agency, undertook extensive research and analysis of the information and data received.
The Committee wishes to express its appreciation for the assistance
provided by officials in the various departments of government. The Committee
II. ANALYSIS OF KEY ISSUES
While the demographic issues outlined below have many advantages and opportunities for New Brunswick, they also present challenges for our province which will need to be met by informed and progressive policy decisions.
A. Slow Population Growth
New Brunswick's annual population growth has slowed from a high of 1.8% in the mid-1970s to the current 0.3%. This figure is below the national average of 1.2%. Indications are that the population growth will continue to fall to 0.1% by 2011.
Growth is affected by the natural increase (births minus deaths) and movement of the population between jurisdictions. Historically, New Brunswick has experienced fluctuating net migration levels, and during the most recent period, the province has lost more people to other areas than it has gained. Projections assume a zero net migration level.
In the past, the natural increase in the population level has offset the impact of negative migration levels, but this trend may not continue. Over the last 25 years, the annual natural increase has declined by 4,000 persons.
The number of births have dropped by almost 3,000, as people are choosing to have fewer children. The current total fertility rate of 1.5 is considerably below that of the 1960s. New Brunswick's current total fertility rate is also below the national average of 1.7. While projections assume total fertility will not go below 1.5, the number of births will continue to fall to 7,600 in 2011. This is a result of fewer women in their childbearing years.
The number of deaths has increased as there are more people in the older age groups. Over the last 25 years, life expectancy increased by 6 years for men and just over 5 years for women. Projections assume this improvement will continue, but at a slower rate.
Negative net migration levels were influenced mainly by the interprovincial movement of the population. Even though this component was negative during 16 of the last 20 years, the level has gone from an annual average of -2,100 in the late 1970s to -650 in the 1990s. Compared to earlier years, the levels of provincial migrants (in and out) within New Brunswick have also fallen, often below 13,000 annually. Levels were close to 20,000 in the early 1970s.
Over the last 10 years, net international migration averaged just over 300 annually. This includes immigrants, emigrants, returning Canadians and nonpermanent residents.
Slowing population growth presents many opportunities which, if given appropriate attention, could benefit New Brunswick's economic and social environments. A significant factor is that growth in demand for services is slowed, enabling governments to efficiently and effectively rationalize services over the long term.
Similarly, decreasing demand for government services may free up existing resources, enabling governments to reallocate resources to other areas or priorities. Conversely, the freeing up of resources may allow for improvements in the quality of particular programs or services. Slow population growth may also result in reduced infrastructure costs over the long term.
Moreover, slow population growth will inevitably stabilize the labour force, which should in turn lead to reduced outmigration. The benefits of reducing outmigration are great, one of the most significant being the opportunity afforded individuals to keep their family unit and support network intact.
Slow population growth will inevitably reduce the demand for day care and other programs specifically targeted at youth, since New Brunswickers are having fewer children.
Slow population growth also presents many challenges. Perhaps the most obvious is the loss of tax revenues to support governmentfunded programs and services. New Brunswick's health care system for instance, will require increased tax dollars to support its aging population. At the same time, the slowing growth in the size of the workforce will cause a reduction in growth of the tax base, and the source of funds required to properly fund this essential service.
Lastly, it is estimated that the number of new business clients will eventually begin to decline, resulting in a lower rate of economic growth. Businesses will need to diversify their products and services in order to remain competitive and to maintain their client base. It will be important for New Brunswick to continue to develop export markets for its products and services.
In a climate of slow population growth, the retention of our youth population is vitally important. New Brunswick must encourage its youth to settle in the province and provide the necessary training and employment opportunities to accomplish this goal. As New Brunswickers, we must continue to instill pride in our quality of life, and actively promote the culture, heritage and history that makes this province unique.
Government will have to address the important issue of employment for youth. While some jobs exist in the province for those with technical training, many with university degrees have to go elsewhere to find employment.
A. Goguen, Kent Planning Commission
Your committee therefore recommends that New Brunswick continue to focus on creating training and employment opportunities, and other strategies that will encourage our youth to live and work in New Brunswick.
Many of our high school and university graduates leave to find work in other provinces. Many go on to have young families and are eager to return to their home province. This could have a positive effect on our economic growth as well as help stabilize our future population. New Brunswick must develop appropriate promotional strategies to encourage former residents to return to the province.
The promotion of our "small town" lifestyle, clean environment, and abundance of outdoor recreational activities, will appeal not only to those born in New Brunswick, but to people from larger centres who are looking for the quality of life that this province can provide.
Your Committee therefore recommends that promotional strategies be developed to encourage former residents and young families to settle in New Brunswick.
Another solution to a slow or reducing population problem is to encourage more international migration to New Brunswick. As noted in the Discussion Paper, New Brunswick At the Dawn of a New Century, currently only 0.3 per cent of the total immigrants to Canada choose New Brunswick as their desired destination. New Brunswick should develop strategies to encourage immigrants to settle in New Brunswick. Immigrants can bring with them investment capital and skills, and this can help us achieve our economic goals and strategies.
New Brunswick has experienced an out-migration of youth, with many young people leaving the province in search of jobs and prosperity. Many have pointed out that increased immigration can fuel the economy, creating industry and jobs and a resulting increase in employment opportunities. The aim of such policies is to increase economic activity in the province, creating social and economic prosperity and providing increased opportunity for our youth to remain and find employment in the province. New Brunswick must be more proactive in promoting the province as a desired destination for immigrants.
As a multilingual, multicultural Province, our public policy must be oriented in such a way as to promote immigration to the area, thus stimulating population growth. Initiatives aimed at promoting our Province as a destination for immigrants with risk capital to invest seems to be a strategy worth examining at the provincial level.
City of Moncton
New Brunswick Multicultural Council feels it is extremely important to our provincial economy to rely to a greater degree on interprovincial migration and immigration for future growth. Changes to immigration policies and practices should be considered in order to address slow growth patterns and immigration practices which in turn, would respond to the issue of New Brunswick's aging population. An immigration policy which encourages "younger" people to come to New Brunswick would also help with the demographic age imbalance.
New Brunswick Multicultural Council
Your Committee recommends that New Brunswick, along with the other Atlantic Provinces, negotiate new arrangements with the federal government that will increase immigration levels to this region and further our economic goals and strategies.
As was stated in the 1995 Speech from the Throne, "It is in the strength and well-being of our families and our communities that we can position ourselves for the twenty-first century."
New Brunswickers realize the value that families and children hold for the province's future. Our families form the heart of our communities and we must not lose sight of their value to society when developing public policy. Our educational, health, and social programs must be designed to support the family unit. The advantages and benefits that a strong and nurturing family environment provide to our children can not be overstated. We must also continue to acknowledge and support the value of the extended family. The love and support that grandparents and other relatives offer to children and their families must continue to be recognized.
The effects of separation and divorce on a child can be numerous. As a society, we must support programs which are designed to provide counselling and assistance to parents and families in crisis. The importance of such programs must continue to be recognized, and the necessary resources provided to ensure such programs can function effectively.
The needs of single parent families must continue to be addressed. Children of single parent families must be given every opportunity to achieve their goals and achieve their full potential. The workplace should be family friendly, especially with regard to single parent families and families where both parents are working. The Government must continue to develop programs to support families, and to assist parents in meeting the needs of their children.
This decrease in the overall children's population and the increase in the "at risk" child population suggest there is a strong need to ensure that each child, within her or his capacity, has the opportunity and support to develop the necessary attributes to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the province. Therefore, it is critical for all children to receive proper care, nurturing and education to enable them to develop to their fullest capacity. (Health and Community Services, 1996b)
Nurses Association of New Brunswick
Your committee recommends that the government continue to implement the recommendations contained in Foundations for the future - A Proposed Framework for Family Policy in New Brunswick.
B. Population Maturing
The median age of the population was less than 25 years old in 1971. At present, with a slower population growth, primarily due to declining fertility and increasing life expectancy, a smaller share of the population is in the younger age group. By 2011, the median age of the population will be over 40 years old.
The traditional age structure of the New Brunswick population resembled a pyramid. As one moved through the age groups from youngest to oldest, the share of the next group on the pyramid was less than the previous one. In 1971, while New Brunswick's population still reflected a pyramid shape, the younger ages were significantly impacted by the above average number of babies born between 1947 and 1966, known as the baby-boomers. As time moves on, the impact of this group can be seen. By 2011 the oldest baby-boomers will begin to reach retirement age.
The population born after the baby-boomers exhibits a reverse pyramid effect. This is due to the declining fertility rate, which makes the share of the younger age group less than that of the older age group. The growing share of the oldest age groups, due to increased life expectancy, is also a significant factor.
As a result of these trends, New Brunswick will continue to see a reduction in educational enrollments. Falling fertility rates have reduced the number of children entering the education system. This will result in a reduced need for new school infrastructure and will create opportunities to increase the quality of education.
As a population matures, it tends to become more interested in a quality of life such as that which has been traditionally offered in rural New Brunswick. A maturing population is often more concerned with the environment, and with preserving traditional values and lifestyle. Moreover, an aging, maturing population usually translates into a more stable and secure society.
The growing number of baby-boomers approaching retirement age will precipitate an increased growth in the financial planning industry. Business opportunities will expand in the service industry that support seniors. Ingenious entrepreneurs will prosper by providing new, innovative services and products to seniors to improve their health and quality of life. New Brunswick can take advantage of this demographic trend and be on the leading edge in the development of the industry serving seniors. These innovative products and services can then be marketed to other provinces that will experience these same demographic trends somewhat later.
An older population is more stable and therefore reduced economic activity is likely to occur within certain sectors, as the bulge of a population matures. Seniors are more likely to purchase services as opposed to goods. Fewer large household items will be sold, as baby-boomers will have already purchased most of these large, costly items. Consequently, this downtrend in consumption could contribute to lower consumer tax revenues.
New Brunswick is quickly expanding its knowledgebased industry, which requires a creative and flexible workforce. It may be more difficult for a maturing population to stay abreast of required information in an advanced, technologicallydriven economy. Many submit, that although retraining a maturing workforce is possible, it would present more challenges and be more costly than bringing in younger workers. However, New Brunswick should continue to promote its skilled and experienced workforce. This may help attract industries to New Brunswick that are in need of an established workforce and a stable working environment.
One of the most significant concerns a maturing population presents is the increased demand for health care. Seniors over 65 years of age use health care resources more than any other segment of the population. Pressure to find new solutions to providing health care for seniors will continue to increase as the baby-boomers age.
Health care is an important issue and one to which we, as New Brunswick taxpayers, devote a large portion of our economic resources. New Brunswick's maturing population must be informed of the challenges that the health care system will face in the future. Raising awareness through public information, and refocussing on preventative health issues will pay dividends in the future. New Brunswick must continue to promote the many advantages associated with preventative health care.
The provincial government's goal in improving health services should not simply be to reduce costs, but to improve the overall health of the population
Nurses Association of New Brunswick
New Brunswick must encourage its seniors to stay active and healthy during their retirement years. The long term benefits associated with healthy living are many, including decreased demand on our health care system over the long term. Municipalities must continue to develop programs and services for our senior citizens and provide activities that will help maintain an active and healthy population.
Many suggest, that in addition to traditional activities for seniors, an increased emphasis must be placed on more vigorous and physically challenging activity pursuits.
We have always underestimated the capacity of older adults to withstand physical challenges. This overprotective behaviour has limited the quality of life for older adults, while progressively compromising their functional capacity, ultimately leading to accelerated disease processes or increasing medical expenses associated with incapacitation.
Dr. Mark Tremblay, Ph.D.
Once again, our rural environments, open space, small and safe cities must all be capitalized upon to provide programs and services that keep our senior citizens active and healthy.
City of Campbellton
Your Committee recommends that the government encourage healthy active living and proactive primary health care throughout the entire life cycle, while continuing to provide quality secondary and tertiary health care services.
1. More People of Working Age
In 1971, the leading edge of the baby-boomers were beginning to enter their young adult years. As a result, there was a dramatic increase in the size of the workforce. The impact of this group will continue to affect the older age groups for the post 1991 period. By 2001, the majority of the working age population will be over 40 years old.
Due to the declining fertility rates of the 1970s and 1980s, fewer young adults will make up the population as New Brunswick enters the next century.
These demographic trends, together with other social and economic realities, suggest that human resource policies and programs, and employee compensation systems, may have to be enhanced and redesigned if they are to be effective in the future organizational setting. Both private and public sector organizations are likely to undergo significant change due to population maturing.
Care should be taken regarding the "rightsizing" of the Public Service given the natural adjustment that will occur in the near future as a large block of employees reach retirement age. This change in demographics can aid the refocussing of the role of the government in the years ahead. However, it is incumbent upon government leaders to ensure the wealth of experience and knowledge present in the senior and middle management ranks is passed on to younger public service employees.
City of Moncton
The declining number of young people entering the New Brunswick workforce could have a detrimental effect on the province's economy. For instance, in Part I of the New Brunswick public service, only 19% of employees are less than 35 years of age. In fact, only 8.3% of employees are under the age of 30. It is important that opportunities be created now to ensure that the province will have adequate future leadership skills and resources.
Your Committee recommends that the government encourage human resource policies and employee compensation systems in both the public and private sector, which provide opportunities for the entrance and career development of younger employees.
2. Aboriginal Age Profile
The Aboriginal population has a different age structure as a result of higher fertility and lower life expectancy compared to the general population in the province. New Brunswick's Aboriginal population is young and growing. In 1991, almost 45 per cent of the Aboriginal population was less than 20 years of age while only 3 per cent were 65 years and over. The youth situation is similar to that of New Brunswick youth in 1971.
This will contribute to the labour force at a time when the growth of the labour force is expected to slow, and will be a source of vitality and renewal for First Nation communities and Aboriginal cultures.
Effective provincial approaches to Aboriginal issues require a partnership approach with Aboriginal people themselves, and with the federal government. In many cases, the federal government has the primary jurisdiction, and the programs and resources to address the issues. However, there are many areas where the provincial government can assist in accomplishing Aboriginal goals. Although the population is small, statistics show that Aboriginal people will form a larger percentage of New Brunswick's population and workforce in the future.
Indeed, in 1991, 58 per cent of the Aboriginal population was under the age of 24 years. Therefore, it is important to address the high drop out rate of Aboriginal people from the education system. Employers will need to implement policies to recruit and retain Aboriginal employees, and ensure that systemic barriers in the workplace do not exist for this group. As well, services will have to respond to the Aboriginal culture.
Ministerial Advisory Committee on Multiculturalism
Over the past two years, the Department of Education has negotiated interim education agreements with ten First Nations. The purpose of these agreements is to develop and implement local strategies designed to improve the educational experience and achievement of First Nations students who are attending provincial schools. The agreements also provide for the payment of tuition fees by First Nations to the provincial government.
Your Committee recommends that the Department of Education be encouraged to pursue this initiative by establishing long term arrangements which build on the current arrangements by which Aboriginals, provincial and federal partners seek to enhance the resources available to Aboriginal students.
The province is involved in a joint economic development initiative with the federal government and Aboriginal representatives from both First Nations (Indian Bands) and off-reserve Aboriginal organizations. Many initiatives are being pursued in the areas of employment placement, business development and capacity building in relation to community economic development.
Your Committee recommends that the province be encouraged to continue with this initiative with particular emphasis on addressing Aboriginal unemployment, especially unemployment among university and community college graduates.
The Department of Health and Community Services has been actively working with Aboriginal people in a number of areas such as the establishment of a transition house for Aboriginal women, child and family services, ambulance services for First Nations communities, the prescription drug program and Mental Health Services.
Your Committee recommends that the Department be encouraged to actively pursue these areas in partnership with Aboriginal people and the federal government.
Language and Culture
Although fundamentally a federal responsibility, the province should assist, whenever possible, in the promotion of Aboriginal language. The Department of Education should cooperate with the federal government and the Aboriginal communities to encourage and promote the teaching of Native languages. Some schools in the Province have already established classes that teach the Micmac and Maliseet languages and cultures.
Your Committee recommends that in collaboration with Aboriginal people and the federal government, the province through the Department of Municipalities, Culture and Housing should increase the awareness of Aboriginal histories and culture within the framework of the heritage of the province of New Brunswick.
C. No "Echo" Generation
By the early 1980s the significant number of baby-boomers was having an impact on the number of children being born in Canada. In many provinces, an increase in total number of births resulted in a higher percentage of younger children. This has been referred to as the "Echo Boom" or the "Echo Generation". New Brunswick did not experience an "Echo Boom", however.
During those years our province consistently experienced the net loss of young adults to other provinces. Since new family formation is heavily dependent on this group, the result has been a steady decline in the number of children. Projections suggest this will continue into the future. Lower fertility, compared to other provinces, also had an impact on the lack of an "Echo Boom" in New Brunswick.
While the lack of an "Echo Boom" creates several economic problems, as examined below, the situation also creates an opportunity. New Brunswick should be better able to care for a smaller youth population in the future. There is an opportunity to invest in every child, and to allow each child the opportunity to realize his or her full potential. With fewer youth, society can focus on diverting more resources and attention to those children deemed to be most "at risk."
Alternatively, there will be less demand in the future for youthoriented infrastructures such as rinks and schools, thus freeing up available resources for other services, particularly for the maturing population. Existing educational facilities may be used for other purposes, such as community centres or continuing adult education locales.
The lack of an "Echo Boom" in New Brunswick should also be regarded as a future opportunity for our youth. There should be less need for our youth to leave New Brunswick to seek employment. In fact, recent surveys show that this trend is already apparent.
One of the reasons New Brunswick did not experience an "echo boom" was that a large number of baby-boomers left the province in the 1970s and early 1980s. New Brunswick should develop strategies and incentives to attract these baby-boomers back to New Brunswick with their children. This strategy may involve promoting the quality of the province's education system. The pupil/teacher ratio is expected to remain stable as fewer pupils come through the system. In other provinces, where there is an "Echo Boom," these ratios are increasing.
A major challenge created by the lack of an "Echo Boom" will be declining university enrollment and a smaller number of welleducated youth moving into the labour force. New Brunswick universities must initiate marketing campaigns to attract students, both from other "Echo Boom" provinces and from other countries, if universities are to sustain current enrollment levels.
Although we must respond to the needs of our aging population and the pressures this will place on society, the needs of our youth must not be overlooked. Support for the child, both at home and at school, and from within the community, is necessary if a child is to attain his or her full potential. Increased emphasis must be placed on our youth, as there may be fewer of them in the future.
Young people must be able to recognize and utilize their strengths and potential. New Brunswick has undertaken certain initiatives in this regard: the appointment of a Minister of State for Family and Community Services, and a Minister of State for Literacy and Minister of State for Youth; Excellence in Education, the Early Childhood Initiatives Program, as well as strategies for combatting child poverty. Though successful, many of these initiatives must be reviewed and enhanced, so that the children of tomorrow will have the necessary foundations and background to compete and be successful in a global environment. Government must continue to implement strategies to remove barriers to the optimum development of our children.
Your Committee therefore recommends that New Brunswick continue to place a high priority on enabling each and every child to meet his or her full potential.
The need for programs in our schools to assist children with disabilities, or children with special needs, continues to be an item of major importance. The need for a school environment where all children have the opportunity to achieve and excel, is not in dispute. However, in order to achieve this goal, and advance the interests of each child, the government must identify and implement programs that will address the needs of each child. The government must work with schools, teachers and families and communities, to identify the best means of achieving these goals. We must provide the necessary resources to support children and to assist them in attaining an excellent education. As a society, we must also provide support to parents and families of children with disabilities or special needs.
Since the early 1970's when learning disabilities (LD) were recognized as a bona fide disability by our governments, positive changes have occurred for persons with this `hidden handicap'. We must continue to ensure that these persons are equipped with the necessary skills to allow them to fully participate in their communities.
Learning Disabilities Association of New Brunswick
Your Committee therefore recommends that the Government should increase emphasis on programming to identify and address the needs of children with disabilities or special needs.
Lack of education is closely linked to poverty and is a significant hindrance to selfsufficiency for a majority of social assistance clients. People without a high school education are often unable to acquire the additional education necessary to allow them to participate in the labour force. Those without a high school education are considered a high risk for dependency at some time in their lives. Continued emphasis must be placed on stayinschool, literacy and academic upgrading initiatives. Programs must continue to be developed that will identify and assist "at risk" children so that they are provided the necessary means and support to continue their education to graduation.
Early intervention in schools and help for children with difficulties is important. These children will be less likely to get in trouble if they are given the opportunity to remain in school and feel success.
K. Bradshaw, Village of St. Martins
It is very important youth are encouraged to stay in school, and programs may have to be modified to accomplish this. For youth and adults who have left school, a comprehensive reeducation process should be put in place to provide them with schooling, training and worksite experience.
Certified General Accountants Association of N.B.
Your Committee recommends that the government continue its efforts to increase the rate of successful high school graduates and to provide access to academic upgrading for those who have not completed high school.
D. More Seniors
Due to the aging population and increased life expectancy, the number of seniors will continue to increase, surpassing 100,000 by 2011. The number of seniors 75 years of age and over will grow, more than doubling over the 40 year period from 1971 through 2011.
By 2011, the oldest baby-boomers will be 65 years of age. Government must be aware of the potential impact to society of this projected increase in the seniors population, so that it can better anticipate the needs of the post 2011 period.
As previously discussed, many opportunities arise from an increase in the seniors population. First, New Brunswick has the potential to develop sophisticated new strategies, products, and services that relate to seniors and aging. These products and services could be piloted in New Brunswick and then marketed to other provinces. An entire industry could evolve, concentrating on the needs of seniors and the services they will require. New Brunswick could have the leading edge in such an industry.
In 2011, as baby-boomers move into retirement, there is potential for them to become more involved in community activities. This increase in volunteerism can be channelled toward improving communities. The increased number in this age segment of the population should be an excellent resource base. In general, it is expected that seniors will be healthier in the future, and will be seeking enriched hobbies and pursuits that will keep them active. It is hoped that seniors will continue to contribute to communitybased resources and activities.
Many economists and futurists predict that retired baby-boomers will be more financially independent than the generation that preceded them, and will have more money to invest in New Brunswick communities. A wealthier generation of seniors will lead to more consumer spending for that age group, than in the past. New business and service opportunities may result.
New Brunswick's particular quality of life may also attract seniors from other provinces to retire in New Brunswick. Many believe that New Brunswick could be strategically marketed as a desired destination for seniors or retired individuals.
A major concern, in relation to the increasing number of seniors residing in the province, is the effect this will have on the cost of health care, and the Province's ability to maintain a fully funded health care system. Research shows that seniors use health care resources more than any other segment of the population. In 1995, the per capita cost to Medicare for physician services for individuals aged 65 to 84, and 85 and older, was significantly higher ($463 and $477 respectively) than the corresponding per capita cost for the total population ($211). There will be increasing pressure to find new solutions to provide health care to seniors as the population ages.
Similarly, the percentage of people with disabilities increases with age. Currently in New Brunswick, 46.3% of individuals who report a disability are over the age of 65 years.
Another challenge policy makers will have to consider when reviewing New Brunswick's population profile, is the desire of most seniors to remain near their family and friends as they grow older. This is especially important due to the growing number of seniors that will make up our population. Many seniors living in rural areas do not wish to move to more urban areas for access to health care and other services. As a result, many seniors may not have convenient access to the services they will need. There will be a growing demand for specialized services to better provide for this large and growing segment of the population.
The Nurses Association of New Brunswick states that to meet the changing needs of our aging population, we must look at methods of delivering health care services that utilize an interdisciplinary/shared practice approach. Such an approach facilitates improved access to quality primary care for New Brunswick residents, especially those living in more sparsely populated areas.
Your Committee agrees that care and treatment for seniors must be accessible and based on their needs.
Your Committee therefore recommends that the government continue to ensure that all New Brunswickers have access to appropriate health care and treatment with an increased emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches, and that the health care system consider the particular needs of our growing population of seniors.
New Brunswick will have to examine closely health care strategies for the future. The Province will have to manage efficiently its health care system as the baby-boom generation begin entering the 65 and older age group and the demands on the system increase. As noted in the Discussion Paper, New Brunswick at the Dawn of a New Century, a maturing population will impact on the demand for and utilization of formal health and support services such as hospitals and nursing homes. In providing health care, increased reliance will be placed on community-based services such as extra mural and homemaker services, and meals on wheels to provide for seniors in their homes.
Your Committee recommends that the government continue to introduce health care reforms for our aging population, emphasizing maintenance of health and using costeffective delivery models.
The projected increase in our seniors population brings with it, not only concerns, but a multitude of potential benefits. As large numbers of the population begin to retire, these human resources must continue to be utilized. A large seniors population creates a wealth of skills and experience. Seniors possess an abundance of knowledge and wisdom accumulated over years of living and working in society. As a society we stand to benefit from the talents our seniors have to offer.
Appropriate structures must be in place to facilitate the optimum development of this resource. The Government must increase efforts in encouraging the growth of the volunteer sector. The result will be a benefit to society as a whole, enhancing the well-being of our senior population and augmenting the skills and experience of ourworkforce.
Your Committee therefore recommends that the government develop strategies that would recognize the importance of volunteers and support the work of nonprofit organizations.
E. Population Distribution - Urban/Rural
Together, the seven cities of the province and their surrounding areas, accounted for 57.6% of the New Brunswick population in 1991. Although such urban centres were defined to include immediately adjacent rural-type areas, this figure likely excluded many nearby bedroom communities which are within the urban influence of the city.
In 1991, the average age of persons residing in the urban centres of the province was 35.2 years. The average age of those residing in the nonurban regions was 35.5 years. The 1991 statistics indicate greater age differences within the urban and nonurban regions than between the two categories. Within the nonurban sector, the Francophone areas were younger, while the Anglophone regions were older.
In general, the urban centres had a somewhat higher percentage of youth than the nonurban regions. The opposite was true of the seniors population, as there was a slightly greater proportion of seniors residing in the nonurban areas. Within the nonurban sector, Anglophone areas had a higher proportion of seniors than the Francophone areas.
The 1991 statistics show the distribution of males and females in the urban centres follows the provincial allotment, with slightly more females than males represented. Men and women were evenly represented in the nonurban area.
One of New Brunswick's most positive selling points lies in the quality of life available in the province's rural and quasirural settings. The province's picturesque beauty, coupled with the sense of community most New Brunswickers share are valuable assets. New Brunswick should promote this quality of life, particularly to attract young people who are raising families or who are in search of a more relaxed lifestyle.
At the same time, a scattered population distribution creates many challenges. First, is the difficulty identifying service points, given the low critical mass of people scattered about the province. Even when such service points are identified, the cost associated with delivering these services is often great. As the economies of scale dictate, there is a high cost of doing business where there is a low critical mass of people. Accordingly, it is often difficult to provide the same level of service to less populated rural areas as it is in urban areas. The government must strive to ensure that adequate levels of service are provided to all areas of the province.
The government must ensure that communication and transportation networks are maintained. It must continue to find innovative ways and improved technologies to provide accessibility and keep all New Brunswickers connected.
Encroachment on farm land is a growing problem in rural areas across the province. Urban sprawl creates a dilemma since many new suburbs spread into traditional farm lands. This is a concern for many New Brunswick farmers. People from the city may move to the country to escape higher tax rates. This leads to yet another problem: New Brunswick cities losing their tax base as more and more people move to unincorporated areas of the province.
Most New Brunswickers reside in rural areas because it is a preferred way of life, and not merely to escape higher property taxes. This preference creates certain challenges for policy makers.
Care must be taken regarding service level decisions in rural areas. While the majority of New Brunswickers enjoy at least basic level services, there should be no attempts to match rural service levels with urban areas. The City of Moncton has recognized this need and through its Strategic Planning process is attempting to identify and react to the changing service requirements of our citizenry.
City of Moncton
There needs to be a thorough analysis of programs, particularly those serving rural areas, to determine if there is a duplication or other inefficiencies. It is necessary to take advantage of new technologies and consolidate base services instead of offering extensive "branch" type operations.
Certified General Accountants of N.B.
Your Committee therefore recommends that the government continue to develop innovative cost-effective means, using new technology as appropriate, to serve the needs of our rural population.
The lack of rural development control and standards has led to development which is environmentally and fiscally unsustainable, while damaging urban tax bases and consuming large quantities of land.
N.B. Association of Planners, Atlantic Planners Institute
It is recommended that the government study the existing property tax regime in unincorporated areas and that the system be changed so that tax rates reflect the actual cost of service provision. Unincorporated area tax rates should recognize that residents in these areas also utilize municipal services, and should be expected to pay for their share of these services. Cities, towns and villages can no longer afford to provide services for nonresidents without a system of cost recovery.
N.B. Association of Planners, Atlantic Planners Institute
Your Committee recommends that the New Brunswick government collaborate with local governments to reevaluate tax structures in relation to the use of services by the residents of adjacent unincorporated areas, or other municipalities.
F. Language Profile
In 1991, statistics showed that approximately one-third of the province's population listed French as their mother tongue. New Brunswick has the largest concentration of Francophone population after Quebec and Ontario.
There are slight differences in the age distribution of the two population groups, with Francophones accounting for a smaller share of the young, and senior population. One factor influencing this demographic trend is the differing fertility rates over time between the two language groups. For Francophone women, aged 45 years and older, approximately 4,600 children were born for every 1,000 women ever-married. For Anglophone women, this figure was less than 3,300. For younger women, aged 15 to 44 years, the number of children born fell to 1,700, with a slightly lower result for Francophone women.
With over thirty percent of the population bilingual, New Brunswick has a unique bicultural identity. Its diverse linguistic and cultural background make New Brunswick a preferred centre when it comes to attracting investors or businesses in need of a bilingual workforce. With its size and technological capabilities, New Brunswick provides an attractive work environment for industries seeking highly qualified, bilingual employees. Accordingly, New Brunswick must continue to market this aspect of its workforce, and attract investors and businesses into the province who require bilingual staff to serve their clients. This will result in increased investment and employment opportunities and will ultimately lead to a stronger and more diverse provincial economy. Such conditions provide a natural "incubator" for the research and development of products and services for interprovincial and international trade.
Your Committee recommends that New Brunswick continue to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, and continue to promote this asset to potential investors.
It is recognized that this Report is an initial effort at what should be an ongoing process. The Committee believes that analysis of demographic trends must be an integral component in the development of all public policy.
Your Committee recommends that regular and comprehensive demographic analysis be conducted in New Brunswick, and that government policies and programs be reevaluated accordingly. This analysis should be coordinated with the release of the most recent and comprehensive demographic data from Statistics Canada.
With leave of the House to dispense with Notice, Mrs. Kingston moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Frenette,
THAT the recommendations contained in the Final Report of the Select Committee on Demographics be concurred in by the House.
Mr. Speaker put the question on the motion of concurrence in the Report, and it was resolved in the affirmative. (Motion 111)
The Order being read for second reading of Bill 101, Charter of Environmental Rights and Responsibilities, a debate arose thereon.
And after some time, the debate was, on motion of Hon. Mr. Frenette, adjourned over.
Committee of the Whole
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole with Mr. MacDonald in the chair.
And after some time spent in Committee of the Whole, Mr. Chairman put the question that Bill 44, Harmonized Sales Tax Act, be reported as amended, and it was carried on the following recorded division:
YEAS - 31
Hon. Mr. Blanchard Mr. Kennedy Ms. de Ste. Croix
Hon. Mr. Frenette Hon. Mr. MacIntyre Mr. Olmstead
Hon. Mr. Graham Hon. Mrs. Day Mr. Flynn
Hon. Mr. King Mr. Allaby Mr. MacDonald
Hon. B. Thériault Mr. Steeves Mr. MacLeod
Hon. Mrs. Breault Mr. Wilson Mr. Doyle
Hon. Mr. Tyler Mr. LeBlanc Mr. D. Landry
Hon. Mr. Lockyer Mr. Jamieson Mr. Armstrong
Hon. Mr. Smith Mr. A. Landry Mr. Devereux
Hon. Mr. Savoie Mr. Jamieson Mrs. Kingston
NAYS - 6
Mr. Sherwood Hon. Mr. Valcourt Ms. Weir
Mr. Robichaud Mr. Mockler Mr. D. Graham
And after some further time spent in Committee of the Whole, Mr. Chairman declared it to be 12.30 o'clock p.m. and left the chair, to resume again at 2 o'clock p.m.
2 o'clock p.m.
Mr. Chairman resumed the chair.
Mr. Speaker resumed the chair and Mr. MacDonald, the Chairman, after requesting that Mr. Speaker revert to the Order of Presentations of Committee Reports, reported:
That the Committee had directed him to report the following Bills as agreed to:
Bill 76, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
Bill 80, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
Bill 88, New Brunswick Public Libraries Foundation Act.
Bill 89, An Act to Amend the Libraries Act.
Bill 91, An Act to Amend the University of New Brunswick Act.
Bill 96, An Act Respecting Pensions.
Bill 97, Supplementary Appropriations Act 1996-97.
Bill 98, Supplementary Appropriations Act 1997-98.
And that the Committee had directed him to report the following Bills as amended:
Bill 44, Harmonized Sales Tax Act.
Bill 75, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act.
And the Committee asked leave to make a further report.
Pursuant to Standing Rule 78.1, Mr. Speaker then put the question on the motion deemed to be before the House, that the report be concurred in, and it was resolved in the affirmative.
Hon. Mr. Valcourt rose on a Point of Order, citing Standing Rule 97, his point of order being that the Standing Committee on Private Bills should not be meeting concurrently with a meeting of the House.
Mr. Speaker ruled that he would declare a recess; however, upon being advised that the Committee meeting had ended, the House continued.
Government Motions re Business of House
Hon. Mr. Frenette rose and announced that it was the intention of the government to resume the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 77, Education Act.
Debate resumed on the motion that Bill 77, Education Act, be now read a second time.
Mr. Speaker reminded Members that as is the custom of the House and as is stated in Beauchesne [6th Edition], Members should not reflect on the presence or absence of Members in the House.
And after some further time, Mr. Sherwood moved the following amendment:
THAT the motion for second reading be amended by deleting all of the words after "that" and substituting the following:
"Bill 77, Education Act, be not now read a second time, but that the order for second reading be discharged and the subject matter of the Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on Law Amendments."
And a debate arising, after some time, the question having been put, the amendment was negatived on the following recorded division:
YEAS - 5
Mr. Sherwood Mr. Mockler Mr. D. Graham
Hon. Mr. Valcourt Ms. Weir
NAYS - 32
Hon. Mr. Frenette Mr. Kennedy Mr. Kavanaugh
Hon. Mr. Graham Hon Mr. MacIntyre Mr. Olmstead
Hon. Mr. Lee Hon. Mrs. Day Mr. O'Donnell
Hon. Mr. Blaney Mr. Allaby Mr. MacDonald
Hon. B. Thériault Mr. Steeves Mr. Byrne
Hon. Mrs. Breault Mr. Wilson Mr. MacLeod
Hon. Mr. Tyler Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Doyle
Hon. Mr. Lockyer Mr. Jamieson Mr. Armstrong
Hon. Mr. Savoie Mr. A. Landry Mr. Devereux
Mrs. Jarrett Mr. Johnson Mrs. Kingston
Mr. McAdam Ms. de Ste. Croix
Debate was resumed on the motion that Bill 77, Education Act, be now read a second time.
And after some further time, Hon. Mr. Valcourt moved the following amendment:
THAT the motion for second reading be amended by deleting all the words after "THAT" and substituting the following therefor:
"Bill 77, Education Act, be referred to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick for the court to ascertain if this Bill is consistent with rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian case law regarding education."
Mr. Speaker interrupted proceedings and advised that Hon. Mr. Valcourt had already spoken on the motion. Unanimous consent was granted for Hon. Mr. Valcourt to continue speaking.
And a debate arising, after some time, the question having been put, the amendment was negatived on the following recorded division:
YEAS - 4
Mr. Sherwood Mr. Mockler Mr. D. Graham
Hon. Mr. Valcourt
NAYS - 34
Hon. Mr. Frenette Hon. Mr. MacIntyre Mr. Kavanaugh
Hon. B. Thériault Hon. Mr. Richard Mr. Olmstead
Hon. Mrs. Breault Hon. Mrs. Day Mr. Flynn
Hon. C. Thériault Mr. Allaby Mr. O'Donnell
Hon. Mr. Tyler Mr. Steeves Mr. MacDonald
Hon. Mrs. Mersereau Mr. Wilson Mr. MacLeod
Hon. Mr. Lockyer Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Doyle
Hon. Mr. Smith Mr. Jamieson Mr. D. Landry
Hon. Mr. Savoie Mr. A. Landry Mr. Armstrong
Mrs. Jarrett Mr. Johnson Mr. Devereux
Mr. McAdam Ms. de Ste. Croix Mrs. Kingston
And the debate being ended, and the question being put that Bill 77, Education Act, be now read a second time, and a recorded division having been requested, it was agreed by unanimous consent to sit beyond 6 o'clock p.m. and to dispense with the ringing of the bells on the recorded division. The question was then resolved in the affirmative on the following recorded division:
YEAS - 30
Hon. Mr. Blanchard Hon. Mr. Richard Mr. Olmstead
Hon. Mr. Frenette Hon. Mrs. Day Mr. Flynn
Hon. Mrs. Breault Mr. Allaby Mr. O'Donnell
Hon. Mr. Tyler Mr. Steeves Mr. MacDonald
Hon. Mrs. Mersereau Mr. Wilson Mr. MacLeod
Hon. Mr. Lockyer Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Doyle
Hon. Mr.Smith Mr. Jamieson Mr. D. Landry
Hon. Mr. Savoie Mr. A. Landry Mr. Armstrong
Mrs. Jarrett Mr. Johnson Mr. Devereux
Hon. Mr. MacIntyre Mr. Kavanaugh Mrs. Kingston
NAYS - 4
Mr. Sherwood Hon. Mr. Valcourt Mr. Mockler
Mr. D. Graham
Accordingly, Bill 77, Education Act, was read a second time and ordered referred to the Committee of the Whole House.
The following Bill was read a second time and ordered referred to the Committee of the Whole House:
Bill 78, An Act Respecting the Education Act.
And then, 6.10 o'clock p.m., the House adjourned.
The following documents, having been deposited with the Clerk of the House, were deemed laid before the Table of the House, pursuant to Standing Rule 39:
Kings Landing Historical Settlement Annual Report 1995-1996 - February 21, 1997
Report of the Senate Subcommittee on Post-Secondary Education - February 21, 1997
Public Accounts for the fiscal year ended 31 March 1996 - February 24, 1997
Documents requested in Notice of Motion 107 - February 25, 1997
Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission Annual Report - February